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WIC WORKS: Higher Breastfeeding Rates Can Reduce Obesity

Advocacy, Breastfeeding Policy, Breastfeeding Support, Infant Care, Lactation, Nutrition, Policies, Policy Briefs

The Importance of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding has long been proven to protect mothers and infants from chronic health problems such as infections, diabetes, and cancer. This protection is strongest when breastfeeding is exclusive—babies receive no foods or fluids other than breast milk—and when it continues at least for the first six months of life.

Optimal Nutrition and Self-Regulation

Breast milk provides the perfect balance of nutrients tailored to the baby’s needs, promoting healthy growth and development. Unlike formula feeding, breastfeeding allows babies to regulate their own intake, leading to better self-control over hunger and satiety cues. This self-regulation can help prevent overeating, which is a key factor in reducing the risk of obesity later in life.

Healthy Weight Gain Patterns

Studies have shown that breastfed infants tend to gain weight more gradually and steadily compared to formula-fed infants. This steady weight gain pattern is associated with a lower risk of rapid weight gain and obesity during childhood.